Elected officials of DeSoto County communities last month attended three days of training and leadership development presented at the Mississippi Municipal League’s (MML) 88th annual Conference at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Coliseum & Convention Center in Biloxi.
At this year conference, the League celebrated 88 years of service to Mississippi’s cities and towns. The conference theme, “Hitting a Homerun with Home Rule,” brought a central focus to the importance of Home Rule, which allows Mississippi municipalities the authority to regulate their own affairs and to adopt orders, resolutions, and ordinances that are necessary to do so. This theme also highlighted the efforts that the League makes each year at the Capitol in encouraging the Mississippi Legislature not to pass laws that preempt local authority.
“The MML Annual Conference allows municipal elected officials from across the state to participate in education sessions taught by subject matter experts on topics critical to the operation of municipal government,” said French Camp Mayor Glen Barlow, 2018-2019 MML President. “We also have the opportunity to network and share ideas with each other.”
An estimated 3,000 municipal elected officials, municipal employees, state agency representatives, legislators, exhibitors and others attended the annual event. Many state and federal agencies provided speakers for the educational sessions. They included the Attorney General’s office, State Auditor’s office, Mississippi Development Authority, Mississippi Planning and Development Districts and MDEQ, among others. Topics included state law updates, community health initiatives, municipal liability issues, community and economic development, human resource management, Census programs, and water and sewer issues.
At this year’s event, candidates for statewide offices such as Governor, Lt. Governor, Secretary of State, and others addressed the MML membership during “Stump Speeches” that were scheduled throughout the duration of the conference. Other conference highlights included the presentation of the 2019 Municipal Excellence Awards, an induction ceremony for the 2019 Municipal Hall of Fame and an expo show which showcased over 200 businesses, state agencies and other organizations. Also at the conference, the Certified Municipal Official graduation took place, recognizing 200 municipal officials for their achievement in the program.
Established in 1931, MML represents 293 city, town and village governments in Mississippi. The mission of the MML is helping cities and towns excel through training, lobbying at the state and federal level and providing resources and networking opportunities with state, federal and private entities.